"Ain't Nobody Never Gave Me Nothing"
July 3, 2012 3:37 PM   Subscribe

While discussing the movie Alien 3, a friend pointed out this comedy clip making fun of a stereotype in which black characters end up saying the line, "Ain't nobody never gave me nothing." I'd like to find more examples of this stereotype occurring. Can MeFites name some films where a black character says this?

(Identical or damn close to the quoted line as possible, please.)
posted by hermitosis to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I can't think of anything exactly like that and googling turns up nothing. The closest I can come:

There is a scene near the end of "Runaway Jury" where one of the jurors rants about all he has been through, says he deserves more than these plaintiffs and doesn't want to give them any money. He says something like "I never asked for a handout". I don't think he is black. I think he is hispanic.

It reminds me of the scene in "Lean on me" where the principal is in jail and is he told he must go calm down the crowd that has sprung up to show support for him and he says something like "I ain't gotta do nothin but stay black and die".
posted by Michele in California at 4:50 PM on July 3, 2012

I'd never seen that, but that is hilarious. To me it seems like Dutton's line just resonated. I don't think there are a bunch of verbatim instances of this, but I think what Faizon hits on is the feeling is there. Looks like there is an instance in Superfly, though who knows how that actually plays in the scene.

Martin Lawrence's character in Bad Boys essentially says it - "Look man, I aint got no trust fund!".

In Boyz in the Hood (Increase The Peace!), after Tre complains about having to do chores, Furious Styles gets at it by telling Tre how he himself has to do all these things like paying the rent, putting clothes on his back, etc. He phrases it like "I don't have to do nothin around here, except for...(pay the bills, yatta yatta). [Aint nobody gave Furious nothin!]

But honestly, to find these instances, one should go watch a lot of films with black characters. A lot of the lines that get passed around in the black community are from the funnier stuff like Friday, CB4 or even bad boys. But that line would likely show up in more dramatic stuff like Juice/Above The Rim/Poetic Justice/Higher Learning/Do The Right Thing/Dead Presidents/Jason's Lyric and so on, and perhaps in "a very special episode" of black television shows. I've seen lots of this stuff, but it's hard to pull lines out of it like that, and as you can see, black shows and literature don't show up online the same way other things do.

I felt like one of the characters in The Wiz said it but I checked the script, and I don't see it. Oh man, I just realized I don't own a copy of the Wiz, which is a class II felony where I'm from.
posted by cashman at 5:27 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here is a website that searches movie dialogue, I think using subtitle files. I'm not getting much for your exact phrase, but try various word combos; for instance, "nobody gave me" gets hits from not only Aliens and Aliens 3, but Driving Miss Daisy ("Ain't nobody never gave me no book before"), Superfly ("Nobody ever gave me nothing"), and Facing Ali ("Ain't nobody gave me anything").
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:30 PM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm fascinated that so few specific ones have come up, though I concede that TV would be just as likely to be ingrained in the stereotype, and that's harder to search.

I hope if anyone thinks of any they'll keep them coming. It might also be the kind of thing that just feels true if someone has watched a lot of movies or TV with poorly written black characters, hence the humor, which is an interesting thing on its own.
posted by hermitosis at 8:40 PM on July 3, 2012

Yeah, I don't think this is a verbatim meme, really -- it's more about the character notes given to black actors, a holdover from the Sydney Poitier "noble negro" era. As such, it's pretty flexible and I could start citing examples right and left -- they just wouldn't have that dialog.
posted by dhartung at 11:41 PM on July 3, 2012

I am a big fan of the film 'Southern Comfort' (Louisiana State Troopers get lost in the swamps). There's a young black trooper, Simms I think, who has great dialogue along those lines. For example Powers Boothe says 'The cajuns think black folks are unlucky' and Simms replies 'They got that right. I been hanging around with them my whole life and I ain't caught a break yet'.
posted by communicator at 1:49 AM on July 4, 2012

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